Submitted to: Summerfruit Australia Quarterly
Publication Type: Trade Journal
Publication Acceptance Date: July 30, 2005
Publication Date: August 15, 2005
Citation: Scorza, R. 2005. Peach growers - get in shape. Summerfruit Australia Quarterly. 7:8-11. Technical Abstract: Peach production world-wide relies on the use of vigorous, spreading scion cultivars grafted onto rootstocks of similar vigor. Regardless of the desired growing system, from low density to high density, from large open-center trees, to closely spaced tree walls, to “Y” trellis systems, the standard, vigorous tree type must be made to fit the system. In order to develop efficient growing systems for peach we have explored the development of alternate peach tree architectures through breeding. Growth habits including dwarf, semi-dwarf, spur-type, weeping, columnar, and narrow-leaf exist naturally in peach and offer new opportunities for orchard systems. In order to evaluate the potential for commercial production it is necessary to develop trees of alternate growth forms with high fruit quality. The management of these new varieties as well as fruit quality must then be evaluated in test orchards to determine their commercial potential. Over the last 15 years we have developed columnar and upright varieties with high fruit quality. These varieties are currently under grower tests. It is clear that no single tree form will be ideal for all growers because each grower has different needs related to land area, available labor, and equipment. Real progress lies in making available to growers a variety of growth types that produce high quality fruit from which they can choose. Input from and collaboration with growers, the nursery industry, and extension and research scientists along with careful study, critical observation, and rigorous testing will decide which traits and combinations of traits are most beneficial for commercial peach production in the future.